As a reminder, Ash Wednesday is today, February 25. It is the traditional beginning of the Season of Lent.
The Season of Lent is a 40-day preparation time for the celebration of Easter. It is to be a personal, sacred, prayerful, reflective time and traditionally involves fasting – abstinence from food or particular behaviors.
My personal understanding of the purpose of Lent is to:
· become more spiritual and to draw closer to God
· acknowledge the sacrifice Christ made for you
· reflect on God’s love for us – enough to send His beloved Son to live and die a tortuous death for us so that we could be saved from our sins and have a personal relationship with Him.
The 40-day period represents the time Jesus was fasting in the wilderness while being tempted by Satan.
I encourage you to observe the Season of Lent. Even if you choose not to fast or abstain from particular food(s), you can give an offering of your time each day to pray and reflect.
I choose to observe Lent because I want to offer myself in some way to God to honor the sacrifice Jesus made for me and to give something of myself in return. I begin in prayer, offering my sacrifice to God. When I find myself wanting the food from which I’m fasting, I am reminded of the purpose of my fast, say a silent prayer, and remind myself that my sacrifice is nothing compared to the sacrifice Jesus made. At times I have found myself accidentally eating something that I’ve vowed to give up. When that happens, I immediately ask for forgiveness and am reminded of how easily we can slip up in sin, which gives me a greater appreciation of the forgiveness we have in Christ.
The Pharisees made a great show of their praying and fasting to impress others with their so-called ‘spirituality’. Their efforts were not genuine acts from their hearts. Jesus commands that we are not to make a ‘show’ of our praying and fasting. They are to be personal acts of worship with God.
The above is just my simplified personal expression of Lent. For more information or a more theological explanation of the Season of Lent, go to www.kencollins.com , select About Holy Days, then select Lent. (It is very reader friendly.) You can also do a Google search. There are many good sites that explain the Season of Lent.
My prayer is that you will choose to observe the Season of Lent by prayerfully offering yourself in some way to God and that, in so doing, your relationship with the Lord will be blessed, leading you to the joy of the Spirit at Easter and always.
Seasons blessings to you all,